Parents of children at Chicago Archdiocesan schools frustrated by closures

'You have to give somebody a chance'
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Parents of children whose schools will soon be closing as a way for the Archdiocese of Chicago to save money are frustrated.

The archdiocese currently educates over 70,000 students in 209 schools. Those schools have suffered from declining enrollment over the years, leading to financial woes as they are expected to mostly finance themselves through fundraising.

On Monday, church officials announced five schools were closing to save money, including St. Colette in Rolling Meadows, St. Jane de Chantal in Chicago, St. Joseph in Round Lake, St. Louise de Marillac in La Grange Park, and St. Maria Goretti in Schiller Park.

RELATED: Archdiocese of Chicago closing 5 schools

"They closed our original school, St. Rene's and now St. Jane's closed. I just feel the archdiocese doesn't really care about families," Maria Pogdorni said.

The closures are a bitter pill to swallow for parents and students committed to a Catholic education.

"You have to give somebody a chance. But they're not. And that is downright despicable," parent Maria Molinaro-Whalen said. "Not the way God would do it."

The archdiocese blames declining enrollment and six-figure deficits for the shuttering. What they fail to mention is that most parents were not informed this was even a possibility until just before Christmas break.

"That western suburb area is almost a Catholic school desert with all the closures they've had," Paul Sadowski, a school parent, said.

The father of two children at La Grange Park's St. Louise de Marillac, Sadowski spearheaded a last-ditch effort to save the school. Between fundraising and outreach they raised over $92,000 in just five days, and while their time ran out yesterday, he's not giving up.

"I would like the opportunity to get, to see if we could raise the additional $150,000, and I would be willing to listen to anyone who would like to benefactor us that," he said.

And while the archdiocese said it will work with parents to find them another Catholic school, some have said they're no longer sure that's the route they want to go for their children.

"There's already five of them closing down, so what we go to another one and they close that one? So what do you do at that point?" parent Michael Augustyniak said.

The selected schools will close by June 30.
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